Chinese town tense after mosque clashes


BEIJING: China dep­loyed hundreds of police and made arrests in a mostly Muslim south-western town after clashes erupted over the planned partial demolition of a mosque.

The town of Nagu, Yunnan province, recently pushed ahead with plans to raze four minarets and the dome roof of the Najiaying Mosque, a resident said on Monday.

The area is home to a sizable enclave of Hui, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group who have come under pressure in the face of crackdown.

On Saturday, police officers wielding truncheons and riot shields repelled a crowd outside the mosque.

“They want to proceed with forced demolitions, so the people here went to stop them,” a local woman said.

“If they try to knock it down, we certainly won’t let them.”

Police have made an unspecified number of arrests over the incident and several hundred officers remained in the town as of Monday, the two witnesses said.

People in areas around the mosque had struggled intermittently with internet outages and other connectivity issues since the clashes, they added.

A notice issued on Sunday by the Tonghai government — which administers Nagu — said it had opened an investigation into “a case that severely disrupted social management and order”.

The notice ordered those involved to “immediately stop all illegal and criminal acts”, vowing to “severely punish” anyone who refuses to turn themselves in.

Those who voluntarily surrender before June 6 will be treated with leniency, the notice